The new shooter from the creators of Doom is very 90s
So last week, we learned that two of the key people behind Doom -- John Romero and Adrian Carmack -- are coming together to develop a new first-person shooter. Cool! But it's on Kickstarter. Oh.
Well, hang on, let's give this a fair shake before getting disappointed. If you're a fan of the self-reflexive, ridiculous storytelling tropes of 90s action games, the new Romero-Carmack collaboration has it in droves. Titled Blackroom, the premise is that you and your Commander Shepard-alike are stuck in what is basically a Star Trek Holodeck simulation gone haywire. Let's be honest, though, the campy story layer isn't what players are apt to turn out for, though: it's Romero's level designs and a promise to return to the speedy, run-and-gun gameplay of those classic FPSes.
So if that's your thing, Blackroom may be worth paying attention to at the very least. Whether Romero and Carmack are able to deliver on the game's proposals in a fun and fresh way is a more complex question, but in the mean time they seem to be having a lot of fun appealing to fans and encouraging them to participate in the campaign even in non-monetary way. Also: no stretch goals! Such a nice thing to see.
I admit though, the thing which charmed me most in Blackroom's almost embarrassingly earnest pitch video is the glimpse we get of our protagonist, Santiago Sonora (left). You can argue till you're out of breath that player characters don't "really" matter in first-person games, but it's still nice to see a team like Romero and Carmack very openly presenting us with a protagonist of color (especially since people seem to routinely forget Romero isn't white either).
That said, I do sort of wish the announced game had more in common with last week's charming teaser trailer, which saw Romero channeling Luke Skywalker. That level of self-aware goofiness can hopefully still find a place somewhere in Blackroom, without losing the 90s comic book vibe it has going on.
At any rate, at least check out the little Daikatana nod at the bottom of the Kickstarter page's FAQ. Romero is very sorry about that ad campaign, by the way.
Disclosure: Romero and I have, in the past, both been involved with the IndieCade game festival.
Kris Ligman is the News Editor for ZAM, and is proud of themselves for going this entire post without likening the mashed-together settings to the parallel universe thing in BioShock Infinite. Whoops, nevermind. Tweet Daikatana apologia at them on Twitter @KrisLigman.